Tom Kleinschnitz to return as Moffat County tourism director
CRAIG — Moffat County Tourism Association celebrated some merry news this holiday season when it learned former Director Tom Kleinschnitz has agreed to an offer to return to his post in the new year.
Kleinschnitz served as director for one year and resigned in September, in large part, due to the lack of a competitive salary and benefits package, which made it difficult to justify permanent relocation to Moffat County from Grand Junction.
But, after several months of soul-searching, the MCTA board opted to draw from its reserves to create a better-funded position with benefits provided through the county, offering the new and improved position to Kleinschnitz before considering other applicants.
“We’re really, really excited. He was the right guy for the right job when we had him,” said Board President Shannon Moore. “I think it’s a great time for him to come back. He’s got the knowledge base of the position; I think he’s going to be able to hit the ground running and it will be fantastic for our community.”
Under Kleinschnitz’ direction, MCTA focused on creating new and more modern marketing materials for the county, including rebuilding the website and creating a promotional video and a new comprehensive brochure to replace outdated single-subject brochures.
“He’s not a procrastinator. He knows we need to jump ahead and get on top to things get things done,” Moore said. “He’s also been in tourism industry forever. He’s operated in Moffat County for a lot of years, so he knows the landscape. He knows the attributes we have to sell.”
The decision to leave this fall was tough for Kleinschnitz. As owner of Adventure Bound River Expeditions, he began running support for river trips for the company in Moffat County more than 45 years ago.
“It’s part of my life story,” he said. “It really is where I started my work. … It’s the beginning of when I left my friends in Denver and came up to the great expanse of Moffat County. Just being away for this short period of time, you realize where you belong.”
Kleinschnitz’ exact start date is yet to be determined, but Moore is hopeful he can resume his post in January.
MCTA has been caught in the crosshairs in recent months, as county officials have sought to merge MCTA with Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership and the Local Marketing District. The merger proposal led to a recent mass resignation from the LMD board, but Moore said MCTA has now essentially been removed from the discussion.
“MCTA has sort of been taken off that table for a couple reasons. One reason is, we’d have to have a ghost board outside of the merged board. It just didn’t make sense, for a lot of reasons,” Moore said. “Regardless of the actual merger, Tom’s able to really work with the other organizations, so, even though (merging) isn’t the plan at this time, I think he can operate really well within the other organizations, and we can still all be very cohesive.”
Kleinschnitz and his wife considered the decision thoroughly before answering yes, he said. With so much potential to realize for Moffat County’s tourism economy, he is eager to pick up where he left off.
“It’s really to make the Moffat County Tourism Association a success story,” he said. “It’s really rallying people around believing in themselves. That’s what creates great tourism is having a community that knows it’s a great destination.”